November 1, 2023

Podcast: Insight into the Two-Headed B2B Marketing Crisis

Gee Ranasinha believes B2B marketing is facing a crisis caused by two issues.

First, efficiency is prioritized over effectiveness, and second, a misunderstanding of marketing as a whole.

He says these challenges reflect a broader problem in the C-suite, particularly among CEOs and CFOs, who are increasingly fixated on quantifiable metrics, neglecting the fact humans are emotional creatures.

Efficiency marketing involves revolves around cost reduction and process automation. It's the belief that marketing can be mechanized to deliver results akin to a manufacturing process.

In essence, it seeks to streamline marketing efforts to minimize costs while aiming to maintain effectiveness.

However, this approach can be inherently flawed.

In the world of widgets, cost reduction doesn't necessarily compromise the product's efficacy as long as it remains for its intended purpose. 

Marketing, on the other hand, operates in a realm where the constituent parts don't always add up logically. 

Humans, the targets of marketing efforts, are not predictable or rational-like creatures. They are emotional, complex, and multifaceted beings.

The Challenge of Measuring the Unquantifiable

The reliance on rational, quantifiable metrics stems from the C-suite's background in finance, economics, and engineering. These disciplines thrive on logic, predictability, and measurable outcomes. But here's the crux: marketing deals with people, not machines.

Many factors, including emotions, context, culture, and countless intangibles, influence human behaviour.

You can't measure emotions with SI units, and you can't predict human behaviour with the precision of Newtonian physics. Irritation, regret, and fear—these are all part of the human equation, and they don't conform to easily quantifiable metrics.

The desire for everything to be quantified and measurable in marketing is akin to trying to measure the immeasurable. It assumes that human behaviour can be reduced to mathematical equations, which is fundamentally flawed.

Marketing doesn't have one right answer or recipe formula for success. It's an art as much as it is science, and it thrives on creativity, experimentation, and adaptability.

Embracing the Complexity of Effective Marketing

Effective marketing acknowledges the intricate nature of human behaviour. It understands that there are multiple paths to achieving a goal, and it embraces the idea that success can be achieved through innovative and unconventional means.

It's about connecting with individuals on a deeper level, evoking emotions, and creating experiences that resonate.

The C-suite needs to recognize that cold, hard numbers cannot solely measure the efficacy of marketing.

It's about the stories we tell, the experiences we create, and the emotions we evoke. Effective marketing understands that humans are not machines, and therefore, marketing cannot be reduced to a mechanical process.

Gee argues the crisis in marketing today is driven by a misunderstanding of its true nature.

He says it’s time for the C-suite to shift its perspective from efficiency-driven marketing to a more holistic approach that recognizes the complexity of human behaviour. 

Only by embracing creativity, experimentation, and the power of emotions can marketing truly thrive in an ever-changing world.

Let's not forget that we are marketing to humans, not machines. 

For more insight from Gee, check out this episode of the Marketing Spark podcast.

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